Australia’s national touring theatre company, Critical Stages Touring, is thrilled to announce a second season of Come to Where I Am – Australia – the playwriting program produced in partnership with the UK’s Paines Plough Theatre Company.
The new season will engage eight playwrights from around the country to each create a 10-minute story that is a snapshot of what it is like to live in their part of Australia right now. These stories will be turned into short films featuring readings by the playwrights themselves.
The readings and works will be showcased in the CST Screening Room, on the Paines Plough website, and via free live watch parties broadcast over YouTube and Facebook. Writers will be awarded $1500 each to write and produce their story, in addition to dramaturgical support, video editing, and distribution services.
The first season of stories were produced during the lockdowns of 2020 as a way to capture an artistic record of an incredible and incredibly challenging time, as well as giving audiences an opportunity to travel virtually at a time when visiting other communities was impossible.
Presented as four volumes, fifteen stories premiered last year and were watched by thousands of viewers through live watch parties hosted by Critical Stages Touring. All four volumes are still available to stream on-demand in the CST Screening Room.
This year’s stories will be presented as two volumes of four short films, with the watch parties and live Q&A events returning in November 2021, this time extending to YouTube.
“We initiated the project last year as a way we could support writers and performers in isolation, and as a way to stay in contact with artists and audiences around the country even though we weren’t able to tour as we usually would,” said Chris Bendall, CEO of Critical Stages Touring.
“It was a virtual tour of sorts, with artists from around Australia coming to us – digitally. We loved the way this program fosters a real sense of community and support among both the artists and the audience. Writers who may have never been able to meet before have connected in really meaningful ways.”
“It’s timely that we’re launching the second season while travel is again something that feels uncertain. To be able to discover new places once again through these short films will be a joy,” said Mr Bendall.
The project is based on an exceptionally successful project from UK company Paines Plough – Come to Where I’m From. Since 2010 they have engaged more than 170 playwrights with invitations to write and perform short plays about their home towns and the places that shaped them, distributed globally through their smartphone and tablet apps.
Come to Where I Am – Australia is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW, and the Australian Government through the RISE (Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand) fund. The premiere season last year was supported by the Australia Council for the Arts, it’s arts funding and advisory body.
Submissions for Come to Where I Am – Australia are now open and close at midnight – Monday 13th September 2021. For more information, visit: www.criticalstages.com.au for details.
Image: Participants in Season One of Come to Where I Am – Australia – courtesy of Critical Stages Touring